Tag: Hugo Palmer

Cambridgeshire Handicap Ante Post Newmarket 3.35 Saturday September 30th 2017



Posted Wednesday September 6th 5.00pm

As handicaps go they don’t come any harder than the thirty five runner Cambridgeshire over the odd nine furlong trip on a course that doesn’t suit every horse! I don’t expect the race to look any easier three minutes from the off as it does three weeks away! So why now? Well the weights are out today and Tom Segal (Pricewise) will have his say tomorrow in the Racing Post and so this blog needs to be on line by 6pm tonight when a couple of lines of blue on Oddschecker will tell us all Tom’s selections! So I’m suggesting you have a look at three horses now and when the final declarations are out we’ll look to top up and go each way, if there is any value.

To win the first leg of the Autumn Double I’m looking for a horse no older than six and it would have to be a very special 3yo to be recommended. I like some course form, I like a horse that has won somewhere over ten furlongs, I quite like a sparse campaign with at least one piece of form to recommend their selection, should be able to operate on Good to Soft ground and be with a trainer who is “a man with a plan” and could easily have targeted this race.

DOLPHIN VISTA                             (Martyn Meade) Regular readers won’t be surprised at the selection but may be at who trains him. Now a four year old, at the end of last season I had concluded, “Top performer winning three handicaps this season and going up from OR83 to OR99 in the process. 8/10F on Good ground or softer.”

Up until May of this year he was of course trained at Musley Bank by the #FantasticMrFahey who prepared him for the Lincoln when he was an excellent fifth off OR99 with the likes of Zhui Feng, Eddystone Rock and Withernsea behind. He was prominent early but with little cover, he was outpaced over 3F out then rattled home suggesting the Cambridgeshire’s nine furlong trip was spot on. He was then a last of nine to Playful Sound on ground too quick for him.

Next thing you know he has been moved to Newmarket! Martyn Meade has plateaued at best this season and could be seen as a one-horse yard with his Group 1 winning Frankel colt, Eminent. Just fifty seven runners in 2017 with nine winners suggests all has not been well at the yard. Back in April he told Chris Cook of the Guardian “We had a torrid time with it (dose of the virus)” said Martyn Meade, whose 50-box Sefton Lodge yard on the Bury Road is close to Newmarket’s heart. “When I ran Ernststavroblofeld the second time, he seemed to be completely clear and everything but he ran a stinker and it can only be the virus. It was one of those things that didn’t show up on the blood tests, didn’t show up on a scope and the only thing you can put it down to is a low-grade infection.”

Dolphin Vista reappeared three months later and clearly needed the run having travelled well before not picking up out of The Dip in the race Thundering Blue crashed into Eddystone Rock and those two have recently won big C2 handicaps!

I think he is well handicapped on OR96 and he is number 46 on the list and has an excellent chance of getting in.

One star* win @ 50/1 Ladbrokes & Coral 40/1 WH

 GM HOPKINS                                  (John Gosden) Just looks his race. Backed him in this last year when running off OR112 and his race lasted about two yards as he reared as the stalls opened and he was always on the back hoof! Indeed getting started is his Achilles heel but when he gets out anywhere like on terms he is a class act as he showed when winning the 2015 Hunt Cup at Ascot and twice this season he has rattled home from unpromising positions in the Coral Challenge and the Hunt Cup and the 9F of this race should be ideal and this season he turns up on OR107 and I wonder if Ryan Moore will ride him again? Cut and paste for the Balmoral at Ascot in October!

One Star* win @ 25/1 everyone!

WEEKEND OFFENDER                        (Kevin Ryan) Last October Weekend Offender beat Another Touch a neck in a 3yo C2 handicap at York and I put in my notebook, “Long term, John Smiths at York—Cambridgeshire 2017? Similar to Weekend Offender/Kevin Ryan”. Well for the John Smiths Weekend Offender was in quarantine and Another Touch ran on well having been drawn in the car park for a race with no pace and they stuck to the far rail at York!!

(Another Touch has since won a Listed race at Pontefract and I expect the 10F Listed Doonside Cup on Day one at Ayr’s Festival is top of his agenda.)

Weekender Offender gets in here on OR98 and at number 29 is guaranteed a stall if declared. After his unplanned mid-season break Kevin Ryan is right back in the winner producing swing! Weekend Offender bolted up at Ayr in a C3 10F handicap on Good to Soft ground and with the handicapper putting him up six pounds to guarantee his place in this field it was no surprise to see him run flat at York just twelve days later!

One Star* win @ 33/1 SkyBet 25/1 Ladbrokes & Coral

Others I considered,

Leshlaa                                               (Saeed bin Suroor) Of all the 3yo’s entered I think this one has some cracking form in the book and is probably a Group horse waiting to happen. Fourth in the Listed Fairway Stakes on this course, fifth in the Brittania to Bless Him and most recently winner of an AW Listed race in Turkey! Number 31 on the list so guaranteed a run if they want, indeed only top weight Carry on Deryck is in that position for the “Boys in Blue”.

El Vip                                                   (Luca Cumani) He will win one of these Heritage handicaps at 8-10F and Jamie Spencer will be in the saddle. Ground would be my biggest concern in the Cambridgeshire, can’t have Soft in the going and I think he’s best coming late off a rapid mile. Please can I have a price for 2018 Hunt Cup on Good to Firm, single figure draw and “Frank” riding?

Uae Prince                              (Roger Varian) After his run in the first race at the Goodwood Festival I had him down as a winner without a penalty but he was disappointingly flat at York and maybe the handicapper has him? OR97 and another who would prefer Good ground or better.

Qassem                                   (Hugo Palmer) Ran a cracker in the Clipper Logistics over 8F at York and in my Review of the meeting I wrote “Owned by Al Shaqab Qassem was originally with Andre Fabre in France, unraced as a 2yo, ran five times (22123) at three from 6F to 8F then transferred to Hugo Palmer stepped up to 12F and was a 14/1 eighth of fifteen in the November Handicap, OR95!  Over the winter he was gelded, pretty big shout for a €300K yearling, and this season has been fifth in a York 10½F C2 handicap OR94, won at Chelmsford in C2, OR93, dropped again back to a mile and second to Flaming Spear in the C2 8F Clipper Logistics at the York Ebor Festival off OR98. The last run was terrific as he was in the van throughout, the handicapper has put him up just one pound OR99.

Why is this horse screaming Balmoral to me? That is the £150K 8F handicap on Champions Day, Ascot October 21st!

I think 8F will suit him better and I’ll pass here.


SimpleSimonSays Review York Ebor Festival 2017 Part 3

Posted Thursday August 31st 5.30pm

So what horses can we take from the York Ebor Festival that could find the winners enclosure before the season ends and maybe a 2018 target. Unlike Goodwood York doesn’t throw up a zillion hard luck stories but I thought a few didn’t get the rub of the green and/or took a major step forward. I am writing this section deliberately without reading the “eye catchers” from other on-line journalists. I expect they may be similar but the following are MY observations.

Finally I have a whole list of “twilight” horses and I would love your opinions on them.

So open up your Trackers and let’s go.

Looking Forward its Tracker Time!

I’ll do them in alphabetical order.

Brorocco                           (Andrew Balding) I am a little nervous putting this one as a horse to follow because he is a battle hardened handicapper who has run in plenty of C2’s and has a habit of finding trouble BUT he is really unlucky at York being “done” more than once. Slowly away probably intentionally, got rail and travelled, rear turning in, nowhere to go 2F out when absolutely tanking, recovered to finish fourth! Remains on OR89.

Saturday, 23 September 2017 – 3:25             Newbury Dubai Duty Free Handicap (1m2f)

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 3:35             Newmarket Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (1m1f)

Both targets are possible especially the Newbury race. The Silver Cambridgeshire would be very feasible but he could sneak into the main event.

The Stewards have a fairly large file marked, “Brorocco”.

BHA Stewards Report @ York “Jimmy Quinn, the rider of BROROCCO, placed fourth, reported that the gelding was denied a clear run between the final 2 furlong and 1 furlong markers.”

BHA Stewards Report @ YorkTHE bet365 OLD NEWTON CUP HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 2) .. SHRAAOH (IRE), placed third, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, had interfered with BROROCCO, unplaced, ridden by David Probert …. David Probert, the rider of BROROCCO, unplaced, reported that the gelding slipped on the bend turning into the home straight.”

Plus getting to the start with him isn’t easy, “Jimmy Quinn, rider of BROROCCO, placed fourth, reported that the gelding was upset going to the start.” “David Probert, the rider of BROROCCO, unplaced, reported that the gelding ran too free.” “David Probert, the rider of the beaten favourite, BROROCCO, unplaced, reported that the gelding stopped quickly having been fractious in the preliminaries.”

Caridade                            (Kevin Ryan) OR83 80 I can’t believe the handicapper has dropped her three pounds. Her yard missed a major part of this season in quarantine and Caridade seems to have benefited. Kevin Ryan paid just £20K for this Godolphin cast off with an American pedigree who was unraced as a 2yo. Just had the three runs, won on Good to soft and 7F looks her trip. Gutsy run at York behind Lincoln Rocks. Moved to the inside, they were always going just a stride too quick for her but she has kept on well. Indeed they went flat out the whole trip here. Looks a winner waiting to happen to me.

El Hayem                           (Sir Michael Stoute) Remains on OR96 and surely has another big 8F C2 handicap in him although I suspect he will need to have Firm somewhere in the going, indeed earlier in the season his trainer told the Newbury Stewards “that the gelding was unsuited by the soft, good to soft in places, ground and would prefer it faster.”

At York a rotten draw in stall 13 and Dettori has chosen to take a pull and drop him in at the rear, last turning in, rapid progress down the middle of the track at the 3F pole but little left in the final furlong and lost fourth on the line. El Hayem is no easy ride but he has a few gears, hence the need for ground he can accelerate on.

Declared for Saturday September 2nd on Chelmsford’s mega bucks evening card in a C2 0-105 7F handicap but Dettori will need to perform miracles to win from the widest draw, stall 16!

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 7:50 Chelmsford (AW) Chelmsford City Cup Handicap (7f)

Saturday, 23 September 2017 – 3:25 Newbury Dubai Duty Free Handicap (1m2f)

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 3:35 Newmarket Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (1m1f)

Euchen Glen                    (Jim Goldie) Remains on OR91. This horse is in cracking form and 2m+ on Good to Soft ground is ideal. Since being stepped up to 16F he has got up late to win the Shergar Cup Stayers and ran a cracker to finish third to Magic Circle at York. On the Knavesmire Paul Mulrennan had trouble getting him to settle, still full of beans after a mile, tanking 2F out when faced with a wall of horses, kept on well to nab third.

BHA Stewards report “Paul Mulrennan, the rider of EUCHEN GLEN, placed third, reported that the gelding ran too free.”

Out of a winning 5F sprinter but sired by Derby winner Authorised he is a long, rangy type. Still has improvement in him over these extended trips and I give him a squeak in the Cesarewitch. I’ve had one star* each way @ 25/1 WH 1234 ¼.

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 3:40 Newmarket Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (2m2f)

John Kirkup                (Michael Dods) Remains on OR92. Ran in the C2 6F Nursery at York that closed the Wednesday card on the rain softened Good to Soft ground. Odd race in a way because the winner has blitzed out of stall 5 to make every yard, with those drawn low unable to lay up with him, as Demon Rocks drifts towards the stands side in the final furlong it is the high numbers who have something to run at. John Kirkup is well thought of by the Dods yard and he is murdered here 2F out having been held up off the pace from stall 16 with the door closing on him twice at least as he tried to make his run between horses.

BHA Stewards report “Paul Mulrennan, the rider of JOHN KIRKUP, placed fourth, reported that the gelding was denied a clear run approximately 2 furlongs out.”

Some give in the ground, 6F or a stiff 5F, C2 or possibly Listed. Cost just £16K and I think he would make a lot more than that in the sale ring even as a gelding!

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40 Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) (6f)

Kalagia                                                (Mark Johnston) I watched this young lady quite closely in the C2 6F Nursery at York as she carried my money as I thought “Mark Johnston’s runner is bred to be quick being by Kodiac out of a Whipper mare! Joe Fanning should be able to get her prominent from stall 2 and just like her win at Hamilton make every yard. She hasn’t been stopping over 5F and carrying just 8st 1lb, close to the jockeys minimum, hopefully she’ll see the extra furlong out!” Wrong! She was totally outpaced early on, improved at halfway amongst horses, kept on to finish 9th. She is a full sister to the rapid Prince of Lir and she wasn’t cheap at €105K, which makes her poorly treated in the Sales race at Doncaster.

The handicapper has kindly dropped her three pounds OR77 74. Any nursery over 6F, preferably fillies only, 0-75 and she has to be worth a second look.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes (6½f)

Natural Scenery         (Saeed bin Suroor) The one “unlucky” horse in that messy part of the Ebor handicap around the 2F pole and Ed Greatrex ended up having to go round the houses to get a run and she flew to grab third. The handicapper has put her up three pounds OR104 107 and it will be interesting to see where Godolphin go with her. The obvious long term target would be back to the AW Stayers Championship at Lingfield next Easter, she was sent off 4/1F last April but had a troubled run there last year. Typical of Godolphin her current entries are “ambitious”.

She has many options, UK All Weather, Dubai, Australia (?) or the breeding paddocks?

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 3:40                  Newmarket Betfred Cesarewitch Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (2m2f)

Saturday, 21 October 2017 – 1:25                  Ascot Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) (2m)

Saturday, 21 October 2017 – 2:35                  Ascot Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) (1m4f)

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 – 4:00               Flemington Emirates Melbourne Cup (Group 1) (3yo+) (Turf) (2m)

Ouja                                     (John Gosden) This is the trouble with lightly raced fillies who look to be well handicapped! Handicap snip on OR77, she runs a cracker to finish fourth in the 12F Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at the York Ebor Festival and is put up 18lbs, yes eighteen, to OR95. However she has run well enough to suggest she can make an impression at Listed or possibly Group level. Beautifully bred by Sea the Stars out of a Danehill mare, that’s £200K beautiful, 12F is her trip and as York was only her fifth start and with a patient trainer, there could be loads more to come. Where next Mr Gosden? She could be a cracking middle distance 4yo.

Qassem                               (Hugo Palmer) Owned by Al Shaqab Qassem was originally with Andre Fabre in France, unraced as a 2yo, ran five times (22123) at three from 6F to 8F then transferred to Hugo Palmer stepped up to 12F and was a 14/1 eighth of fifteen in the November Handicap, OR95!

Over the winter he was gelded, pretty big shout for a €300K yearling, and this season has been fifth in a York 10½F C2 handicap OR94, won at Chelmsford in C2, OR93, dropped again back to a mile and second to Flaming Spear in the C2 8F Clipper Logistics at the York Ebor Festival off OR98. The last run was terrific as he was in the van throughout, the handicapper has put him up just one pound OR99.

Hugo Palmer on Betfair prior to the York run, “Qassem is a bit of a conundrum in that he arrived from France as a prospective lead horse for Galileo Gold, but does nothing quickly at home and wasn’t suited to that role, and I ended up aiming him at the November Handicap as he needs ease in the ground and shaped like a stayer in his homework.

In the end, we had the unusual scenario of a slow-run race on fast ground for that contest which was completely unsuitable. He ran perfectly well here over the extended ten furlongs here in May, but the drop back to a mile was no inconvenience to him at Chelmsford last time when he won well despite being messed around on the home turn, showing his versatility in the process. There are very few opportunities for horses with his rating on the All Weather, so he’s back on turf and is another of mine for whom the rain is a plus. He’s well drawn to take a handy position, although I’d not be keen to make the running on the round course at York, so hopefully he can get a good lead into the contest.”

Why is this horse screaming Balmoral to me? That is the £150K 8F handicap on Champions Day, Ascot October 21st!

Shymkent                   (David O’Meara) I don’t know if a non-runner counts but I had Shymkent down as a major player in the 14F C2 Melrose 3yo Handicap until the trainer withdrew him, “Self Cert (Bad Scope)”. Had one disappointing run for Roger Varian as a 2yo, sent off just 9/2, was then gelded and moved to David O’Meara. Won on debut for the yard in a Good ground C5 10F maiden at Wetherby getting up late at the amazing odds of 50/1! Then outclassed in the Listed Cocked Hat at Goodwood, won an 11F C4 handicap on Soft ground at Carlisle off OR86, a staying on tenth beaten just over seven lengths to Atty Persse in the King George V C2 12F handicap on Good to Firm (too quick) and then a hampered running on fourth to Walton Street over 11F in a competitive C3 handicap at Goodwood off OR90. This horse was crying out for 14F on soft ground in a C2 with a decent gallop, last week was not the time to scope badly! By Pivotal out of a Sadlers Well mare whatever he does this year he is going to be a cracking staying 4yo. OR90.

Spring Offensive           (Richard Fahey) This is not an easy horse to win with but he ran really well at York in the 10F C2 handicap behind Eddystone Rock on his first attempt at the trip. He had the worst of the draw out in stall 20, dropped in behind, all that was behind him and Paul Hanagan straightening for home was the ambulance. Never competitive he has run on strongly to the line under nothing but hands and heels. The handicapper has dropped him a further two pounds OR88 86 and he is now below his last winning mark.

Three thoughts occur to me. Firstly he could be a candidate for the Silver Cambridgeshire but that race attracts improving 3yo’s! Secondly is there a C3 8-10F contest at the Ayr Gold Cup meeting? Thirdly, let him go. He doesn’t win often enough. He has appeared in James Pyman’s Friday RP eye-catchers before now.

Conclusion I want to back him at a double figure price in a competitive handicap whilst he is on OR86.


That lot were hard work and time consuming. Let’s hope they pay off!


“Twilight” Horses, Stuck in the middle?

Now time for you all to contribute. A constant theme to me, especially during the summer Flat Festivals, is the number of “Twilight” horses who really have little chance of winning, stuck between top weights in a handicap and not good enough for level weights. So could you tell me under what circumstances YOU would consider backing the following?

Alpha Delphini              (B Smart)              6yo         OR108

Returns to Beverley on Sat. in the “Bullet”, the last race he won twelve months ago!

Certificate                        (Varian)                 6yo         OR104

Now down to just a pound higher than when he won a Goodwood 7F C2 handicap over a year ago.

Desert Encounter      (Simcock)              5yo         OR114

Won a Listed 12F at Ascot in May but struggling in G1 since.

Final Venture                 (Midgely)              5yo         OR110

Won a Soft ground 5F Listed sprint at Haydock in May. Just biding his time until he can get back to Meydan?

Gabrial                                (Fahey)                  8yo         OR107

Has career earnings of £750K+, two thirds of which is place money! Hasn’t won since June 2016 in a 8F Listed race on the Soft at Windsor.

Glass Office                      (Simcock)              7yo         OR100

Missed 2016 and his OR is down eight pounds in three runs this year. Last race he won was 6F G2 Duke of York June 2016.

High Jinx                            (Tim Easterby)     9yo         OR109

Not won since the G1 Prix du Cadran back in 2014.

Jallota                                 (C. Hills)                6yo         OR110

Last won a G3 7F at Chantilly a year ago.

Jungle Cat                         (C.Appleby)          5yo         OR112

Won a C3 7F Conditions at Haydock in July. Another waiting to get back to Meydan?

Mondaliste                 (O’Meara)            7yo         OR113

Not won since the G1 Arlington Million a year ago. Probably the answer!

My Dream Boat            (Cox)                      5yo         OR113

Not won since the Soft ground 10F G1 Prince of Wales 2016. When will he lose that G1 penalty?

Polybius                             (Simcock)              6yo         OR106

Not won since a Listed 6F race at HQ back in August 2015! Another Meydan candidate?

So Beloved                 (O’Meara)            7yo         OR111

Not won since a Haydock 7F Listed event in May 2016, losing sequence of fifteen since!

Sheikzayedroad            (Simcock)              8yo         OR114

Won the Group 2 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup Ascot Oct 2016. Third in the G1 16F Dubai Gold Cup in March. Earned close on £300K for those two alone but unsighted in three runs this summer.

Suedois                       (O’Meara)            6yo         OR112

Not won since joining current yard, that is seventeen months and twelve runs. Been second/third eight times out of twelve!

Toscanini                           (Fahey)                  5yo         OR110

August 2016 he won a G3 6F on the Curragh. Relieved of his pacemaking duties for Ribchester, went very close in the recent G3 7F City of York under a hold up ride!

Tupi                                      (Hannon)               5yo         OR109

Won the Listed 6F Cammidge Trophy on the opening day of the 2017 season but that is his only win in the last two seasons and seventeen runs.

Viscount Barfield         (Balding)               4yo         OR105

Won a C2 handicap off OR90 and a Chester Listed both over 7f and went up fifteen pounds in four weeks but where now?


Phew! I’m done!!

SimpleSimonSays Review York Ebor Festival 2017 Part 1

Posted Tuesday August 28th 4.30pm

In yesterday’s Racing Post they asked the Monday jury “What would they change at the York Ebor Festival” and unanimously they wouldn’t! I couldn’t agree more, four days of wonderful racing, well balanced between the Group races and the excellent handicaps. What is more it’s fair. A long straight, they race down the middle, it is all about pace and a jockeys judgement of it! Plenty of Yorkshire trained winners to boot.

Class acts

Three stand out performances. Ulysses in the 10F Juddmonte International got the ball rolling. Got there on the bridle but the 3yo’s rather set it up for him by racing from 3F out. Surely Barney Roy had to either sit behind or Cliffs of Moher or go past and stack them up. Didn’t understand the James Doyle ride nor the money for Cliffs of Moher in the days up to the race then his run! Good to see Churchill back to form, supposedly the Irish Champion Stakes next whilst the winner, Ulysses, has the Breeders Cup Turf on his agenda.

Cracksman romped away with the Great Voltiguer and despite the media baying for him to run again this season personally I think he’ll be on the Arc subs bench in case anything happens to Enable and then next season the Coronation Cup, King George, Arc de Triomphe will be the plan.

Of course the third star was Enable herself who waltzed away with the all age Yorkshire Oaks. In Australia they have a super mare, Winx, who hasn’t been beaten for ages but some aren’t over impressed because she beats the same horse(s) every time, namely Hartnell. In winning the Cheshire, Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks the same charge could be levelled at Enable with Alluringly, Coronet and anything Coolmore saddles following her home BUT you can’t get away from a four and a half-length victory in the King George at Ascot with the likes of Ulysses, Idaho, Highland Reel et al trailing behind.


Five races to consider the 7F G3 Acomb for colts, the 6F G2 Gimcrack for colts, the 6F G2 Lowther for fillies, the 7F C2 Convivial maiden and the valuable C2 Sales race.

In the Acomb the favourite Dee Ex Bee disappointed but I like the first four home. James Garfield was chinned on the line by Tim Easterby’s Wells Farhh Go with Lansky and Zaaki not far away and both of those will be better over the mile. The winner remains in the “could be anything” envelope. The run of James Garfield enhances the reputation of Barraquero and in turn Expert Eye.

An upset in the Gimcrack with Richard Fahey’s rapidly improving Sands of Mali winning in a convincing manner from Invincible Army and the dead heating Headway and Cardsharp. Solid form but still suggests the Goodwood 2yo form is the best of the Festivals this year. That theme was reinforced when Threading, a Goodwood maiden winner, was impressive in beating Madeline in the Lowther.

The 7F Convivial is the most valuable maiden of the season and no surprise that trainers like to run “a good’un” in it. The form rarely disappoints with the winner normally close to Group level. They had real issues this year in loading the inexperienced field with some runners being in the stalls for over five minutes and the fancied Doswell withdrawn. I’m putting the first five and the ninth in my 2yo tracker. (See below in Looking Forward)

Right, now the valuable 6F Sales race. Tangled beat Great Prospector and Hey Jonesy a neck and half a length. The fourth Alba Power a length and a half away and a further three lengths to the fifth, the filly Darkanna. All five go in the Tracker. (See below in Looking Forward).

I am convinced Paul Hanagan has been blind-sided here! He straightens Great Prospector up a furlong out and to him it’s just the rapid and unfortunately high drawn Hey Jonesy he has to pick up and he feels quite happy about that so delays his attack and drifts towards the stands side. Meanwhile Tangled has burst between horses and nicked a length and Great Prospector now has to chase him down on the far side and fails by just a neck with the pair of them beating Hey Jonesy. The Official handicapper has given the first three marks of OR102 (up a stone since winning his nursery), OR105 and OR103 and that would have put all three right in the thick of the action in the G3 Acomb and with the time quicker than Threading’s victory in the Lowther half an hour later if the first five in the Sales race met the first four in the Acomb I would be all over Great Prospector.

Looking Forward its Tracker Time!

Alba Power                      (Hugo Palmer) Won his maiden at Yarmouth over 6F, then 6th in the G2 July stakes just five lengths behind Cardsharp, 3rd in the Listed 7F Winkfield and fourth in York’s Sales race. Quicker ground and he is a real player at Doncaster.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Darkanna                    (Richard Fahey) Already a Black Type filly and she could turn up anywhere in Europe but I want to be on when she steps up to 7F! She was a £205K purchase as a daughter of Dark Angel and bloodstock agent Matt Coleman has served the Cool Silks Partnership well (Prince of Lir and of course recent Gimcrack winner Sands of Mali). She couldn’t lay up with speedster Hey Jonesy on the stands side but stayed on strongly without looking like winning.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 2:20             Newmarket Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies) 6F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                 Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Commander Han          (Kevin Ryan) Slow away, moderate late progress whilst running green in the Convivial. From the Craven Breeze Ups Sales this £440K son of Siyouni was sent off at just 9/1 (from 16/1) on debut, so clearly well regarded and loads more to come especially up in trip.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) 7F

Corrosive                          (Hugo Palmer) Another from the Craven Breeze Ups Sales he is a son of Uncle Mo with a US pedigree and cost Mr Araci £150K. James Doyle looked after him in the Convivial and this educative introduction should pay dividends. Moderately away he moved up well to be a never competitive fifth.

Dream Today                 (Mark Johnston) Hindsight is a wonderful talent but it was only afterwards I found out he was a full brother to Al Wukair! Then Braveheart goes on TV and says they had three in mind for the Convivial, put them against each other in a gallop at home and this one came out on top! Prominent, led 3F out and despite wandering a bit was professional enough on debut to see the race out.

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 2:25             Sandown Solario Stakes (Group 3) 7F

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Dubai Empire                 (John Quinn) Put up by ATR’s top tipster Hugh Taylor he wasn’t far away. On this his second start in the Convivial he was held up, made progress in the straight but was still a couple of lengths off a podium finish and basically ran to the pound with Laugh a Minute when they were fifth and second to the Acomb winner, Wells Farhh Go. A €40K son of Motivator should make up into a 10/12F 3yo.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings)

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                  Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Gabr                                     (John Gosden) Hard to know what to make of him? There isn’t a lot from front to back but clearly has an engine. Ran on late on debut at Newmarket and again in the Convivial came to challenge at the furlong pole but couldn’t get past. To me the least convincing of the front five.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 1:50             Newmarket Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings)

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                 Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Saturday, 02 June 2018 – 4:30                         Epsom Investec Derby (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies)

Great Prospector         (Richard Fahey) He is in my opinion is a Group horse over 7/8F this season or next. Impressive on debut winning over 6f, an excellent third to Gustav Klimt in the G3 Superlative over 7F and in the York Sales race I think he was the best horse but Hanagan got blind-sided. Where he runs at Doncaster may indicate the yards opinion of the horse, especially relative to Sands of Mali. OR105

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – 3:00             Doncaster Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (Group 2) 7F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Saturday, 14 October 2017 – 2:25                  Newmarket Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) 7F

Hey Jonesy                 (Kevin Ryan) Many will say that having to run a solo from a high draw cost him the race but personally I think if he had been drawn low he would just have set it up for the other two. They paid just £30K for this son of Excelebration and he looks a sprinter. OR103. He would look an attractive proposition for the Far East market at six figures plus.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday, 23 September 2017 – 2:50             Newbury Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (Group 2) 6F

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – 2:55             Newmarket Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) (Colts) 6F

Saturday, 07 October 2017 – 5:40                  Redcar totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy (Listed Race) 6F

Laugh a Minute         (Roger Varian) Frustrating for connections but wonderful for the handicapper and us form students Laugh a Minute has finished third to Tigre de Terre on debut, second to Wells Farhh Go and third here in the Convivial to Dream Today! The Racing Post see him as a solid 80 whilst the handicapper has given him OR82. If he was mine I could happily put him away, let him strengthen up and start next season in 7/8F 3yo handicaps because this is an OR90+ horse!

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Tangled                              (Richard Hannon) How good is he? Won a Newmarket nursery off OR88, then beat Great Prospector in York’s valuable Sales race and now has a handicap mark of OR102. He travels, he quickens, he has beaten some decent types. £67K son of top sprinter Society Rock out of an American filly probably won’t get beyond a mile but has to have a go at Group company or is it another bucket of cash at Doncaster?

Saturday, 02 September 2017 – 2:25             Sandown Solario Stakes (Group 3 7F)

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – 3:35            Doncaster Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes 6½F

Saturday August 26th Lucky 15 Mark II

Posted Saturday 10.00am So much racing today just had to tell you about these four!

Lucky 15 MKII (6 stars)

Goodwood 2.45         ULTIMATE AVENUE                11/2 general                   One star* win

Newmarket 3.50        THEYDON GREY                      4/1 general                     One star* win

Newmarket 4.25        GIFTED MASTER                     4/1 general                     Two star** win

Chester 4.45               GALACTIC PRINCE                  10/3 general                 Two star** win 


and here’s why

Goodwood 2.45 ULTIMATE AVENUE The notebook says “Ultimate Avenue, stealthily ridden by Jamie Spencer, seems to have a future in these valuable sprint pots for the next few seasons. Raised three pounds for this effort from OR97 to OR100 will guarantee an invite to all the best parties but may need the assistance of Spencer to be seen at his best.” Well Spencer is at Goodwood then Windsor and not York and looking through his rides I reckon this is his best chance of a winner. Steps back up to 7F and this lightly raced 3yo has already dipped his toes into Group company and this £60K+ pot looks well within his compass.

Spencer in his 32Red blog “He has been pulled out a couple of times recently because the ground has gone against him, so hopefully the rain stays away and he can take his chance on a decent surface.  If he does, then I would like to think he will go close, even though the handicapper put him up 3lb for his third over 6f at Newmarket.  I was quite taken with him there and he was probably a little unfortunate not to win, all things considered, as he travelled really well throughout the race and I had to switch him to get a clear run late on, and he was only beaten a head and ½ length in third. The form looks very strong too, as the fourth, fifth and sixth have all won since. That was over 6f but the step up to 7f won’t be any issue at all – you only have to look at his earlier runs over this trip to see that – and I think he will be pretty competitive here if I can get a good early pitch from stall five.”

Newmarket 3.50        THEYDON GREY No surprise here as I really fancied him for York but the rain put paid to that plan. Just hope it isn’t going to be quick at Newmarket! Good, Good to Firm in places (GoingStick: 7.7 on Friday at 06:30) WEATHER Dry since Tuesday. Friday looks set to remain settled with sunny spells. A little more cloud early Saturday, with a small chance of a passing shower. Otherwise bright spells and temperatures of around 23C.”

Here’s what I said for WednesdayLast four runs at York, won last three, 12F 14F & 16F. Goes well for Georgia Cox.” Would have preferred York but I know he’s fit, ground, trip and grade are fine and Ms Cox is still in the saddle. I saw a tweet yesterday that suggested all was not well in the Haggas yard but a 1-2 in the last at York and a winner at HQ yesterday seem to knock that on the head.

Newmarket 4.25        GIFTED MASTER Plenty of emotion involved with this horse. As a 2yo he developed Guineas aspirations but he was a headcase, disappointed as a 3yo, then they almost lost him through a bout of colic but now is reinvented as a sprinter. Attractive here because Gifted Master is best at Newmarket, Pat smullen has been booked and for a prominent racer has the rail in stall 1. Nothing trainer Hugo Palmer says on his Betfair blog puts me off.

“I could have run Gifted Master in the City of York Stakes over further, but I really want him to have more opportunity to prove himself as a sprinter, and although it was only a four-runner race he won at Doncaster last time, I thought he looked back to something close to his best, and William Buick was very complimentary about him.

It’s great to have him back as he was very sick earlier in the year, and while he would have to right up to his peak rating to win what looks a really competitive race, there’s no reason to think he’s not at his best, and he’s well drawn to go forward from the inside stall.”

Chester 4.45               GALACTIC PRINCE An excellent third at Ascot to Bin Battuta and I put in my Notebook “Back in third behind Bin Battuta was a staying on Galactic Prince. For a 3yo gelding by Dubawi out of Opera Gal (OR105) a Galileo mare, surely Andrew Balding can place him to win another staying handicap 12/14F off OR80.” Andrew Balding does well at Chester and stable jockey David Probert rides. Trip, grade and the Good ground are spot on.


One that got away!!!!

Chester 4.15               PENWORTHAM Many of you may not be aware that it is not only Pricewise (Tom Segal) who can move the market but Hugh Taylor, ATR’s top tipster has the equivalent effect. I had Penwortham in the MkII Lucky 15 but Hugh Taylor putting him up has seen the price shrink from 12/1 to a top priced 6/1 with Ladbrokes. I can’t put Penwortham in the Lucky 15 at that price when I’m on at double figures. My logic is exactly the same as Hugh Taylors!

“PENWORTHAM has two ways of running on the face of it, but he has run an excellent race on all three outings at Chester and after shaping as if back in form last time, he looks to have plenty in his favour in the extended 7f handicap (4.15).

His form figures here not only read 212, but they stand up to close scrutiny. On his first run here last season over the bare 7f he pulled clear with Arcanada, who was running off a mark of 93 but was last seen finishing second at York off a mark of 105. He won on his second course outing, also over 7f, again pulling clear with a progressive rival, this time Viscount Barfield, who has won three of his five Chester starts, including a Listed race her in July (now rated 105). On his third and most recent start here, which came over today’s distance, he had to make his challenge a little wide round the final bend, but still found enough to pull clear again with winner and odds-on favourite Fastnet Tempest, who hugged the inside throughout. The winner didn’t have much luck in the Hunt Cup next time and is another who is likely to be rated well above 100 in time. After three runs elsewhere, Penwortham returns to Chester on a 2lb lower mark, and he shaped as if in form at Galway last time, much better than the result in fact, having endured a wide passage. He is well positioned in stall 2, and granted luck in running, a reproduction of his previous course form would make him very hard to beat here.”

Indeed his RPR’s are 88, 94 & 95. He has struggled to beat 90 anywhere else. Definitely horses for courses!


Plenty of others I’m watching carefully.

Goodwood (Good)

2.10 Verandah Strong 7F 2yo fillies G3 and she is a well-developed young lady who was special on debut on the AW sweeping from last to first. Notebook “This Cheveley Park homebred daughter of Medician and a full-sister to one of his chief money-spinners in Dimension, showed an impressive turn of foot, second last to first from the cut away, to comfortably win this 7F C4 fillies maiden on the AW at Kempton. She’s a good size and should have no trouble stepping up in trip.” Jamie Spencer thinks a lot of Noseda’s Quivery.

2.45 Johnny Barnes My idea of the Ayr Gold Cup winner running over 7F here. Raucous has looked like his name was down for one of these all season. However its Ultimate Avenue in the Lucky 15.

3.20 I’m all over Hathal but this looks a Soft G2 and Lightning Spear is a genuine G1 performer and no Ribchester!

3.55 This could be a serious St. Leger trial with Call to Mind and Count Octave possible contenders. UAE King could have run at York in the Lonsdale Cup or todays Melrose and is a Cup horse for next year whilst Godolphin are about to blow an excellent handicap mark on the gi-normous Warner Street.

Newmarket (Good to Firm)

2.05 Betty F. Expensive Frankel 2yo filly.

Chester (Good)

3.05 Powerallied Can he get going quickly enough. Will win at Chester.

Windsor (GF, G in places)

6.30 11F Listed with Across the Stars back on course and Spencer is keen on Second Step (see below).

6.40. G3 10F Competitive event where Best of Days needs to show his true colours. Hugo Palmer on Betfair “Best of Days has been slow to come to hand this year, but the signs were much more encouraging at Newbury last time despite the really soft ground not helping. Oisin Murphy rode him there and said it was only his guts and class which allowed him to go as close as he did. The ground won’t be anything like as bad at Windsor, and I expect him to put up an improved performance as a result. He’s a horse who has given us cause to dream about the big days, and is working well again; it would be wonderful to get him back in the winners’ enclosure, but this is a deep race and there will be no hiding place.”

Not sure what they are doing with Ayrad. Sneaking suspicion might be top weight in a handicap?


On line quotes

A confident Spencer in his 32Red blog! 6.10pm Windsor Second Step This is arguably his easiest task of the season, for all that he carries a 3lb penalty for his Goodwood win and meets a higher-rated horse in Across The Stars. But whereas that horse has questions to answer now in that he has been gelded and is tried in a first-time hood, my horse looks very solid and bumped into a very smart and progressive horse in Poet’s Word at Goodwood last time. Hopefully, they all have me to beat.

A not so confident Josephine Gordon in her 32Red blog! 3.35pm York Dubka “I am thrilled to have picked up such a good ride for Sir Michael.  She looks to have run as well as she has ever done when just beaten on the line in the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood last time and returns to handicap company on a fair mark of 102. We know that she stays well, and has form on all ground – though she would definitely prefer it if it doesn’t dry up too much, as she does look best with give –  so I think she deserves to be among the favourites. Her draw in 19 will hopefully be okay, and fingers crossed for the ground, too. Any more rain would suit her.”

Jim Crowley Coral blog at York

1.55 – Strensall Stakes I’m looking forward to Mustashry in the first. He was returning from a long time off when he ran at Goodwood, and we then went to Chelmsford where I thought he was a bit special to be honest.  It’s very hard to come from behind there and he passed the whole field in two furlongs.  He should come on again for that run, so I’m very hopeful of a big run.

3.00 – Gimcrack Stakes Nebo has run very well in Group races last two times, he went very close in the Superlative Stakes and then finished second again behind Barraquero at Goodwood.  We meet Cardsharp again, who we beat at Goodwood, and although it’s a competitive race as you’d expect, I think we have a good chance, he’ll certainly be on the scene, and he deserves to get his head in front in one of these nice races.

4.40 – Jack Berry House Handicap I end Ebor week on top-weight Khairaat in the ten furlong handicap.  Things have not quite gone his way last couple of times, at Royal Ascot he was a little bit keen and didn’t quite finish his race, and at Goodwood we didn’t have the best draw but still ran well for third.  He started the season with a very good win at Chester, and although this is a very different track, I think it will suit him and he’s a nice horse who I think will run a big race.

Handicappers 2017

Posted Thursday 27th July 3.00pm

I’ve been a busy bunny over the last few days doing the research, just can’t get excited with the plethora of C5/C6 betting shop fodder! So get ready to stand by your in boxes. first up a list of handicappers to go in your Trackers for the next few weeks. Hopefully next will be a Lucky 15 for tomorrow, Friday, then a piece on Apprentices following on from Graeme Rodway and then a stable of 2yo’s you might like to have a look at. As I said I’ve been busy!

Handicappers 2017

ADDEYBB                    (William Haggas) A solid specimen, a 3yo gelded son of Pivotal, whose three runs have been on Soft, Good to Soft and Good and he has won the last two. Having been drawn widest on the round mile Martin Harley chose to go forward and was in the van throughout. Previously at Haydock he had got outpaced, running green, but Harley got him to extend and eventually won by a cosy half length. Obvious improver OR88 93, RPR70,93,98! Martin Harley, a stiff mile and ground no worse than good and he could be a big handicap player.

AZAM                                  (M.Appleby) Sold out of Gosden’s for £50K, was a £260K yearling, to The Horse Watchers. This horse is on my 3yo list and just wants dropping back to 10F, some Soft ground or AW (Southwell?) and possibly gelding! OR87AW OR84Turf. The Horse Watchers also bought Wild Acclaim. OR70.

BLAKENEY POINT       (Roger Charlton) My blog on the C2 12F Old Newton Cup. “This would look on the short side for him having been sent off a well backed 4/1 favourite for the 18F Chester Cup but after an excellent last time out fourth at Goodwood his trainer seems to have a plan. 28th May 2017  Roger Charlton website “Blakeney Point travelled like the winner in his race over 1m 6f and in the end didn’t get home. He got taken on too early as they turned in and it set him alight. As we had thought at Chester, 2m 2f was too far. He has got a lot faster than he was last year and cruised all over the field. The Ebor looks like the race for him in August and his jockey (Jamie Spencer) seemed taken with the idea.”

Right if the “plan” is the Ebor on the third Saturday in August you may get in off OR98 but you need three figures to be sure. Currently on OR95 a solid run, even a win, here would do the job and give you six weeks to freshen him up!

Blakeney Point has won over 12F and three times over 16F as well with two wins on the AW, with one in C2, suggesting he’ll enjoy a sound surface. Keiron Shoemark has won on him twice and claims three pounds. This is one of two already booked rides at Haydock for the stable jockey so the horse seems sure to line up. The question will be “Is he quick enough”?” Finished well and grabbed fourth. OR95.

CULLINGWORTH           (#FantasticMrFahey) Cullingworth was the eye catcher having to go six wide to get a run then flew home. Remains on OR83 and I think the key with him is a strong pace and something to run at, perhaps a Johnston runner. Will win again this season and could be at a price!

DAIRA PRINCE (Roger Varian) Bred to get 12F+ but doesn’t seem to stay a yard over 10F with a stiff mile probably his best trip. May be a slow learner but won at Leicester off OR80 and looks to be an improver. Up to OR86.

DESERT SKYLINE           (David Elsworth) Desert Skyline, it seems may be heading to the Ebor handicap at York, a big ask for a 3yo! OR100 101 Has an entry in Ebor and 20/1 Ladbrokes, 16/1 general. 3yo’s get 10lb so unlikely to get in, one win 3lb, two wins 7lb penalty. RP Weekender‏ @RPWeekender  July 24th 5pm  “David Elsworth reveals he supplemented Desert Skyline for Gdwd Cup after deciding he wouldn’t get in Ebor (currently 16-1 but 77th on list)”

GALACTIC PRINCE        (Andrew Balding) Back in third behind Bin Battuta was a staying on Galactic Prince. For a 3yo gelding by Dubawi out of Opera Gal (OR105) a Galileo mare, surely Andrew Balding can place him to win another staying handicap 12/14F off OR80. There is an 11F 0-90 C3 3yo handicap that closes the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

GOOD OMEN (David Simcock) Ex-Oppenheimer/Haggas this 3yo colt is by Holy Roman Emporer out of a Galileo mare and at the right level seems to be progressive. Strip out his a 2yo Pontefract Listed race, two runs in Meydan and the King George V handicap at Royal Ascot and his form is 221111. His wins have been in C4, C5, C3 & C2, twice at 8F and the last two at 10F. His last win saw him put up 3lbs to OR96 and surely a shot at a big handicap must be on the cards. Won at Doncaster on the bridle and is ideally suited to Jamie Spencer. The ground was probably a bit quick at Ascot and took a bit longer to get there at Yarmouth. 10F, no worse than Good, Spencer and a 3F+ home straight and he’s a player. Ayr?

LA RAV                               (Luca Cumani) At Newbury Messr’s Cumani and Spencer teamed up to win with the rapidly improving 3yo colt La Rav, making every yard! He cost £120K at the 2016 Guineas Breeze Ups and Cumani’s patience is now paying off. Up eight pounds to OR93 this son of Footstepsinthesand out of an Acclamation mare could have a couple more handicaps in him yet. Ground doesn’t seem to be an issue and 7/8F seems the trip. Cumani website, “La Rav became a dual winner in the colours of Mr Simon Capon when making a winning handicap debut off the back of his maiden win at Salisbury as he took a four runner race at Newbury on Thursday by three and a quarter lengths. He faces an 8 lb rise in the weights after that, but we are really pleased with how he is progressing and hopefully he can stay ahead of the handicapper.”

LOVE DREAMS               (Mark Johnston) The other was Mark Johnston’s lightly raced Love Dreams who was just three lengths away in sixth. Currently OR91, if the handicapper could shave off a pound C3 could beckon over six or seven furlongs. Being gelded may help as he has some growing up to do. Won the following Saturday over 7F very comfortably on Soft ground. OR91 100

MAM’SELLE                     (Haggas) Unraced as a 2yo she was hugely professional on debut this £80K daughter of Teofilio travelled in the box seat over 10F at Salisbury, pulled out 2F from home, green and wandered but put head down and beat Circulation a nose! Second run at Goodwood in a C5 10F apprentice handicap, OR73,  she didn’t seem to enjoy the 3F uphill climb that starts this race and indeed her pilot told the stewards “Georgia Cox, the rider of MAM’SELLE (IRE), unplaced, reported that the filly was never travelling.” Galactic Prince was a couple of places in front with both staying on.

Stepped up 1½F at Lingfield in C5, OR72, the RP analysis says “Chased leaders, clear in leading trio and waiting for gap 3f out, pushed along and quickened to lead over 2f out, clear and in command over 1f out, stayed on readily, comfortably”. Yet to race on anything other than Good to Soft and up eight pounds to OR80, looks progressive and should have a fruitful autumn.

Highclere website “You only have to look at this filly on the move to see what a special individual she is and it is no surprise as she hails from a Classic producing family. She is a half-sister to Jacqueline Quest who was second in The 1000 Guineas (Gr 1) having been demoted from first place after veering across the track. This is a family we are very familiar with, having enjoyed multiple Group success with Regime who is out of this filly’s second dam Juno Madonna. Mam’selle was unraced at two, but was always going to be a filly that will be seen at her best over middle distances, so we eagerly anticipate her debut in the spring.”

MARIE OF LYON            (#FantasticMrFahey) Since winning her maiden at York Marie of Lyon has been asked some pretty big questions. The listed Empress, the G3 Princess Margaret, the big York Sales race and then as a 3yo the Listed Sandringham handicap at Royal Ascot and Saturdays C2 handicap at Newmarket. She’s never run badly and finds herself now with a handicap mark of just OR83 and surely #FantasticMrFahey can find her a 7/8F C3 and build from there. Owned by Clipper Logistics so York would be the obvious venue but I’m struggling to see a suitable race at the Ebor festival.

MOUNT MORIAH       (Ralph Beckett) This is one progressive staying 3yo who made most of the fourteen pounds recieved from the older horses, pulling away from the furlong pole to win by a comfortable four lengths. Needs “softer” ground. Won last three on Soft, Soft, Good over 8, 11 & 14F. OR73 81 93 102. The Mallard handicap, C2 14F, at Doncaster in September could be on the agenda?

MURAD KHAN                (Hugo Palmer) This 4yo could still be improving despite a six pound penalty pushing his mark up to OR104 for this race. Backward as a 2yo with just the one placed effort on the AW at Kempton he won his first three races as a 3yo including beating Nimr at Doncaster and Ballet Concerto at Thirsk in mile handicaps but then disappointed when tried in Listed company. Well fancied for the Hambleton handicap on his first run this season he boiled over in the preliminaries and ran no race. They gelded him and eight days ago he behaved impeccably in a first time hood and won a C2 8F handicap at Windsor beating the likes of Chelsea Lad and Donncha. He races prominently and has a touch of class being a son of Ravens Pass out of a Sadler’s Wells and his half-brother Ascription improved for being gelded.

NAJASHEE                        (Burrows) Hamdan al Maktoum 3yo 700K euro half-brother to Ectot! Unraced as a 2yo, took three goes to break his maiden over a mile but did so at Haydock and supposedly goes handicapping off OR78. Tall, green, easy striding grey with a fast ground action and should get 10F.

NOVOMAN                      (William Haggas) I think Novoman is now starting to deliver what the yard has long suspected. Last season as a 2yo he took three goes to break his maiden and that was in an egg and spoon 7F race at Brighton and he was a 4/11 shot to do so! Then three runs in nurseries, 532, gelded over the winter and sent off 9/2F for the valuable Royal Mile handicap on 3yo debut but well behind Cullingworth. Then ninth to Parfait and sixth to Auberge du Lac in C2 handicaps, then here to York 3.45 race, C4 10F where they have got Good to Firm ground, dropped two grades to C4, stepped up two furlongs and put on Georgia Cox, the stables five pound claimer! Novoman did it well, quickening nicely 2F out and seeing the trip out. As a 3yo his RPR’s have been 62, 80, 87 and 97 whist his handicap mark has gone 90, 88, 86 and now OR94. On his second start as a 2yo he split Salsabeel and Law and Order now rated OR106 and OR100. Suggests there is more to come. I want to back Novoman in a C3 0-95 10F handicap on a flat track on Good ground or better preferably with Ms Cox in the saddle.

OMRAN                      (Marco Botti) The representative of Marco Botti, the trainer of OMRAN, unplaced, reported that the colt was unsuited by the soft ground and would prefer a faster surface.

PEALER                       (John Gosden) At Epsom John Gosden’s 3yo Pealer won a four horse race over 8 ½ F with the RP saying Pealer “was given a positive ride and ran his rivals into the ground”. Put up seven pounds from OR85 to OR92 I think there is still some more to come. He has improved for a tongue tie and he has raced against some top colts like Monarchs Glen, Tamleek and Count Octave and his duck egg was a non-staying last in the Derby!

PETITIONER                     (Roger Charlton) Unraced as a 2yo, made his debut at Wolverhampton and although slow away and green as grass was a creditable staying on third. Stayed on the AW and won a 12F C5 maiden that has worked out well. He has a low head carriage and at times looked to be struggling but when asked in the straight he scythed through to lead at the furlong pole then held the wider finishers including Qaviy Cash, Marine One and the now OR90 rated Cape Coast who has won twice since. Petitioner gets to go handicapping off just OR78, was due to run at Newbury 5.20 C4 12F 3yo, “5:20pm Withdrawn PETITIONER (IRE), trained by Roger Charlton. Going” Clearly needs a sound surface. Entered at 8.10 Newmarket Friday 28th C3 0-95 12F 3yo handicap.

RASHFORDS DOUBLE (#FantasticMrFahey) Latest run at Hamilton when third to Mohab was his first since being gelded. “prominent but niggled (?), took lead inside 2F pole, headed inside final furlong, will come on for run. Dropped a pound to 80 or getting a run in a 0-80 or back at Newcastle would be handy!” Mile seems his trip.

SIX STRINGS                    (#FantasticMrFahey) Lightly raced son of Requinto, 291 as a 2yo with the ninth in the Weatherby’s Super Sprint, then gelded over the winter and two places as a 3yo. His 3yo debut was at HQ when seven lengths behind Parfait in a C2 3yo 7F handicap on Good ground keeping on well for second but had the likes of Omran and Novoman behind him. Then a solid third at Hamilton in the Scottish Stewards Cup and supposedly could next appear in the Stewards Cup Consolation at Goodwood. OR87 looks workable and the horse has Ayr written all over him, probably Silver or Bronze.

SOCIETY RED                   (#FantasticMrFahey) Fahey ran Society Red up in trip for the first time but James Sullivan raced three wide with no cover. Did he stay? Jury’s out. However surely Society Red is a “winner waiting to happen” off OR81. I think he is an OR90+ horse.

SOFIA’S CHOICE            (Mark Johnston) The third, Sofia’s Choice, remains of interest in any 3yo 14F contest which is run on a flat track that suits front runners. The Melrose Handicap at York would seem suitable, C2 0-105 14F 3yo, as long as he stays on OR100!

THUNDERING BLUE     (David Menusier) Basically a galloper. Despite being US Bred for 8F max seems to get 10F, acts on softer ground and enjoys Epsom! Won off OR76 and what will the handicapper do? Up 7lb to OR83. Trainer Menuisier didn’t have a winner this season until Tuesday, then three on the bounce!

UAE KING                    (Roger Varian) He is a son of Frankel and a half-brother to Dubawi bred by Darley. Wow. However he is built like a three mile chaser! No gears but as Gosden has observed these Frankels have a real stride on them and Uae King looks a real galloper. Backward as a 2yo, midfield in a maiden. Took him three attempts to get off the mark as a 3yo but won a 12F C5 maiden here at Haydock and the third has already won in a class above at HQ and the second, the US bred Festival of Ages from Godolphin, didn’t look too shabby on debut. Races prominently and will be suited by the course (Sandown) and the extra distance and goes handicapping off OR84 with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle. Ran on the Friday over 14F in a C4 and ground it out to win. Up to OR90 and the trainer thinks he’ll stay two miles.

Varian website, Roger said: “It was not all plain sailing for the strapping bay with distinctive white markings, who had to be nudged into the bridle by Andrea Atzeni as the tempo lifted down the back straight, but he made up his ground nicely on the climb to the line and always looked to be doing enough. UAE King is still a work in progress and while he has improved with each visit to the racecourse, he is still babyish at times and is learning his trade. He certainly has the pedigree and looks to develop into a nice horse in time and so long as Sheikh Mohammed Obaid is in agreement, I would like to keep things low key with him at this stage.”

UAE QUEEN                     (Varian) She cost £450K as a yearling which is no surprise as she is by Oasis Dream out of a Barathea mare and is guaranteed a future in the breeding paddocks. Unraced as a 2yo she’s had three runs as a 3yo, 371. Last time out at Yarmouth in a 7F C5 fillies maiden Andrea Atzeni, ridden her on all three occasions, bounced her out, made every yard, wound it up from 2F out and won comfortably. Her opening handicap mark of OR77 seems lenient and would be worth following but always a possibility she may go in search of Black Type for which I wouldn’t be so keen.

ULTIMATE AVENUE     (Ed Walker) Ultimate Avenue, stealthily ridden by Jamie Spencer, seems to have a future in these valuable sprint pots for the next few seasons. Raised three pounds for this effort from OR97 to OR100 will guarantee an invite to all the best parties but may need the assistance of Spencer to be seen at his best. Whilst writing the last sentence it has occurred to me he has the perfect profile for a big bucks sale to Hong Kong, mind you he may not go via the sales ring as he is owned by PK Siu (Stormy Antarctic)!

VICTORY BOND             (William Haggas) This horse probably has a bit more class than Another Touch and this race would be only the sixth of his career but he has been on my radar ever since I saw him win his 3yo maiden at Ripon by seven lengths. The notebook says “Group horse in a handicap” and I was mildly surprised to see him gelded at the end of his 3yo season but this season this son of Medicean ran an excellent third in the 8F Listed Hambleton handicap at York and his pedigree suggests 10F will be ideal.

I would expect Victory Bond to be hugely competitive off OR102 IF he lines up in the John Smiths Cup but as ATR’s Gary Nutting posted a quote from William Haggas saying “This has been the plan but we’re dependent on the weather. He needs cut in the ground and I would be reluctant to run him if conditions are too quick.”

Blog July Cup review “At York the form of the C2 10F John Smiths handicap may need to be treated with care. Firstly they went no pace, very unusual for this race, until 3F out and as Jason Weaver pointed out this was an old fashioned York race with the leaders keeping to the far rail turning for home. Neither of these factors helped the hold-up, dropped in horses, so I am upgrading the performances of Garcia, Victory Bond, Another Touch and Central Square. The handicapper has left the first two on OR95 and OR102, dropped Another Touch one pound to OR103 and Central Square two pounds to OR105. They could all be back on the Knavesmire for the opening 10F 0-105 handicap on Ebor day.”

VON BLUCHER               (Rebecca Menzies) I have had one eye on him all season, ever since Rebecca Menzies paid £95K to get the 3yo out of John Gosden’s stables so that she had a Saturday horse, stable profile etc. not that she needs it as she has been among the winners all season. He was a close up fifth in the listed Spring Trophy over 7F at Haydock on seasonal debut, only beat four home in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when the stiff mile seemed beyond him and then here when having to switch to the stands rail to get a run, staying on for sixth. He’s not in the 7F Gigaset International at Ascot or the BetFred Mile at Goodwood and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ms Menzies, who trains in Co Durham has him pencilled in for the Clipper Logistics handicap over the mile at York during the Ebor Festival.

Lucky 15 Saturday May 27th

Friday 6.00pm Winners or not I hope this blog is worth the read. Struggling!?! If any acquaintance of yours has just taken delivery of a new Bentley you either know my bookmaker or a bloke who has been laying all my selections this week! In my current form I’d give Richard Birch and/or @racingblogger a run for their money. Spending too much time reading Stewards reports and not race reports!

BUT last Saturday got me out of a deep hole and let’s hope it can do it again.

What is more I’m giving you two Lucky 15’s!!


Anthea L Morshead‏ @AntheaLMorshead  Clerk of the Course 4.00pm “Sunny @yorkracecourse Going for first Saturday of the season now Good to Firm, Good in places. Will water tonight to replace moisture lost”

Haydock – Good to Firm. Thundery showers forecast for the morning on Saturday, but clearing from midday.

Goodwood –Good  (Good to Firm in Places on the round course).

Chester – Good to Firm (Good in Places) (watered). Sat – Dry morning turning an afternoon of sunshine and showers.


Saturdays Lucky 15

York 2.40                                DAL HARRAILD           6/1 PP 11/2 general

Haydock 2.55                         MUSTARRID                8/1 PP 7/1 general

Goodwood 3.10                     AARDWOLF                8/1 general

Chester 5.20                           OKOOL                                    7/4 general

and here’s why

York 2.40                                DAL HARRAILD Two people I like to stay on the right side of on the Knavesmire are Paul Hanagan and William Haggas and they combine here in what looks to me to be a serious Ebor trial, making it all the more annoying that Wall of Fire is a non-runner with a temperature. Dal Harraild has to concede three pounds or more to all of his rivals but with an extra two furlongs surely in his favour, his prominent style of racing and the fact he’s had a run already are all positives. Is it far enough or soft enough for Clever Cookie? Is it too far for Frontiersman (if not he’s a definite Ebor player)?

Haydock 2.55                         MUSTARRID My early selection was Stoute’s City of Joy who was entered here and in the valuable 7F 3yo contest at Goodwood but runs in neither. So I want to be with the horse he just chinned at Doncaster in a similar event but a class lower. No issues with the draw, the ground, the grade or the trip and as I made Graphite Storm the danger I would simply rather have Jim Crowley in the saddle than Sam Hitchcott. Trainer Richard Hannon is in form as he said on his blog with stanjames, “The horses are absolutely flying and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at present.” He seems keen on this one, “This horse has a great chance. He’s in great form and this is a very good race for him. I’m very happy with his draw in 6 and I think there is more to come. He’s classy.”

I have also backed #FantasticMrFahey’s Society Red each way as I think this horse is much better than OR80 and off just 8st could well run into a place or even win! Two others I’m watching closely are Naval Warfare for an in-form Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy and Maths Prize from Roger Charlton’s yard ridden by three pound claimer Keiran Shoemark. I thought the latter wanted to step up in trip and I’m mildly surprised to see him back at a mile.

Race will need watching a few times as should throw up plenty of bets, maybe even at Royal Ascot.

Goodwood 3.10                     AARDWOLF The top weight in this £100K 3yo 7F handicap was beaten just under four lengths when 7th in the 2000 Guineas behind Churchill. That’s real form but he has to give lumps of weight away even with top claimer, George Wood’s five pounds allowance. Aardwolf is improving with every run and although his form is solid I’m persuaded by his running style and the topography of Goodwood tomorrow! The excellent cutaway that has been present for Thursday and Friday has gone and I’m hoping the tactically aware Joe Fanning can bounce Aardwolf out of stall 11 get the lead, stack them up turning for home, then wind it up in the straight with the normal chaos behind!  Will be a little upset if it’s The Wagon Wheel who picks him up for the #FantasticMrFahey!

Chester 5.20                           OKOOL            Second selection for Hamdan al Maktoum and I like this improving 3yo son of Cape Cross from the Charlie Hills stable. Okool ran in some serious maidens as a 2yo often with little luck, he was murdered at Newmarket in the race won by Eminent. An improving 3yo second to Crystal Ocean over 10F at Nottingham before returning three weeks later to get off the mark. The further step up in trip should help further and hopefully Voski will give something for Dane O’Neill to aim at.


This is not my normal modus operandi to put up four horses for either the same trainer or owner but at first glance of the Saturday runners I noticed that maybe the handicapper had given a few of Dr Marwan Koukash old boys a winning opportunity. On deeper research I am even more convinced and I shall play the Lucky 15 each way and definitely do Gabrials Kaka as the biggest single. Last time I did anything like this was when the “Touch’s” went in at Ayr and Innocent Touch would have put us in for £7K off thirty quid, three winners was OK though.

Chester 3.05   GABRIALS KAKA A terrific servant to the yard and I think the 7yo has a great chance in this race and could get Marwan Koukash on the scoreboard for 2017 at his favourite track going one better than his second in this race last year. My notebook says “So when to back him? C2, 8F, OR95 or less, no Soft in going, 8/1 or bigger, each way and as many places as you can get!” Well its 7½F on Good to Firm, he races off OR91, he’s well drawn in stall 3 and Connor Murtagh, on his only ride of the day, takes 7lbs off. He opened his 2017 campaign in the Lincoln Consolation on ground too soft and Adam McNamara took him all over the course and never got the cover he needs. Last time out was more worrying as from the same draw over C&D he “missed” the break although Paul Hanagan wasn’t too busy! Always on the back hoof he started to close at the top of the straight but at the furlong pole had a wall of horses in front of him and wasn’t pursued with. His trainer Richard Fahey says in his sportinglife.com blog “To be at his best Gabrial’s Kaka needs rain ahead of the MBNA Handicap. It is forecast to come at some stage on Saturday but Marwan Koukash likes Chester and he’ll run whether it arrives before the race or not.” I’d be happy with the forecast shower but not a thunderstorm! Murtagh just needs to be busy at the start and get on the tail of probable leader Hillbilly Boy, wait for the cutaway and every chance. He is in effect 9lbs lower than that last run a fortnight ago! 6.30pm 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Chester 4.50   GABRIALS KING Another fantastic horse for Dr K and in a C3 over his favourite trip off OR89 with Adam McNamara taking three pounds off must be competitive. He has been fourth in the Chester Cup but in C3 his form is 8231, his form over this C&D is 4221 and all his wins have been on Good ground or faster. He has been second in this race twice before and with trip, grade, ground all in his favour he must go close. He hacked up at Thirsk on seasonal debut off OR86 which is in effect his mark here, was poor at Ripon not staying the two miles, then dropped almost six furlongs here at Chester last time keeping on but getting nowhere near the improving Khairaat. This is much more his cup of tea even from stall 8 of 10 as he’s a hold up horse. Richard Fahey says in his sportinglife.com blog “Gabrial’s King is a funny horse who has two ways of running but he’s won here before and would have a big chance in the Mionetto Prosecco Handicap if it was a going day.  He’s in great form at home and looks really well.” 6.30pm 16/1 PP 14/1 general

Haydock 2.20 SUEGIOO Perhaps this selection is a little more adventurous as 8yo Suegioo has only won twice in thirty nine attempts but one of those was a much coveted Chester Cup win for the good doctor! He hasn’t run off OR100 since May 2015 when he was fourth over C&D, such is the horse’s consistency. Trainer Richard Fahey gives cause for optimism in his sportinglife.com blog “I thought Suegioo ran well in the Chester Cup – he flew home up the straight that day from a terrible draw. Haydock should suit him and the handicapper has started to give him a chance, I hope he runs well.” Suegioo has been placed thirteen times from 38 turf starts, nine places from twenty nine runs on the forecast ground and eight places from 21 starts in this grade. What really attracted me to him is the fact that dropping to OR100 gets him in this 81-100 contest and probably the weakest opponents he’s faced in a couple of years. Can Tony Hamilton, on his first ride on the horse, nurse him round, get him close enough at the two furlong pole to let his stamina come into play and find space to use his finishing kick? Let’s hope so! 6.30pm 14/1 Ladbrokes + Coral

Talking of Tony Hamilton, it would seem he is the regular morning rider of Ribchester which perhaps sheds a bit more light on his value to the Musley Bank set up. This is the first season for a while, with or without Hanagan, I can remember Hamilton having almost as many outside rides, especially for Derek Shaw and Roger Fell, as he has had for Fahey.

Goodwood 4.20         ANGEL GABRIAL Let’s start with the cold truth Angel Gabrial hasn’t won since he won the Northumberland Plate off OR96 in June 2014, getting on for three years and twenty two runs ago. However he’s been running in the likes of the Goodwood Cup, Chester Cup and Cesarewitch which this race certainly isn’t! Like Suegioo he’s an 8yo with an awful win to run ratio but has landed a biggie. Looking at his recent runs there are two bits of form that suggest he isn’t a lost cause here. Last September off OR98 over this 14F trip in this grade on Good ground he was third having been given a scenic ride by Sophie Killoran and a ton of lead. On seasonal debut this season he was an excellent staying on fourth despite having travelled wide throughout at Musselburgh in C2 off OR96, again over this trip on ground maybe a tad quick for him, suggests he still retains enough ability. As his trainer Richard Fahey points out in his sportinglife.com blog “The handicapper is starting to give Angel Gabriel a bit of a chance. While we dropped Suegioo in during the Chester Cup we had to go forward with this fellow and he ended up doing a lot of the donkey work through nobody’s fault. He’s getting dangerously well handicapped now so must have a small chance in the Gentleman’s Measure IMO Phil Wiggins Handicap.” There wasn’t a lot wrong with his run in the Chester Cup. Pat Dobbs is an interesting jockey booking, he certainly knows Goodwood, and if he could pop Angel Gabrial out of stall 4 and grab the box seat just behind the pace he could be a real player. 6.30pm 14/1 Ladbrokes + PP


Fridays Lucky 15

Goodwood 3.10                     ALNAAS                      4th 2/1Fav       (3/1 Ladbrokes + Coral)

Too keen. Ran her race in the first two furlongs not the last two.

Goodwood 3.45                     RAHEEN HOUSE         3rd 6/4 Fav      (15/8 general)

Not good enough. Did he stay?

Haydock 3.30                         DAGONET                   12th 12/1         (6/1 BetFred + PP)

BHA Stewards report “Jim Crowley, the rider of DAGONET (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding stopped quickly approximately two furlongs out as though something was amiss. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities.”

TwitterCallum Connochie‏ @Connochie7  Very poor from Dagonet. Market did suggest he wasn’t fully wound up.”

Haydock 4.40                         IN FIRST PLACE           6th 8/1             (11/1 general)

One pace.


Racing News

Here’s an interesting little stat from geegeez .co.uk

“Track Bias Diary – Friday 26 May ANDREW MOUNT 10:09am, Fri 26 May 2017

When the field doesn’t stretch across the whole width of the track, it helps to be drawn low-to-middle and race towards the centre of the track in sprint handicaps at Goodwood. Since the draw was reversed in 2011 we’ve had 55 sprint handicaps featuring 12-16 runners and those drawn 11 or higher have a 0-99 record.”

Chris Cook reveals in the Guardian “John Gosden putting Josephine Gordon on a runner at Goodwood tomorrow. First time he’s used a female jockey in Britain for at least 4 years”

Mori to Ribblesdale. Lord Grimthorpe “When she won at Ascot, she was doing her best work in the last furlong and really today it was pretty much the same thing. I think all being well we will head to Royal Ascot for the Ribblesdale and take it from there. On that, you’d be pretty confident she’d have no problems getting a mile and a half. She was green first time out at Newbury, and it was a learning curve at Ascot, but she was quite professional today. She was really well balanced and relaxed.”

Aidan O’Brien – Minding to miss Tattersalls Gold Cup this weekend and Royal Ascot after setback. Aidan O’Brien now planning an autumn campaign.


The Epsom Derby 2017

David Milnes 11:56AM, MAY 26 2017 Godolphin’s Best Of Days, a general 20-1 chance for next Saturday’s Investec Derby at Epsom, will miss the Classic. Speaking on Friday morning, trainer Hugo Palmer said the Royal Lodge Stakes winner needed more time to develop, with the focus switching to targets later in the season. “Best Of Days won’t be ready to run in the Derby in eight days as he just needs more time,” said Palmer after watching the colt work on Newmarket’s Limekilns gallop under Derby-winning rider Michael Hills. “He’s coming along fine but the race at Epsom would come a bit soon for him and we’ll look for something later on.”



Came across this on Twitter written by Kevin Blake (ATR+Final Furlong Podcast) September 2016.

“The betting world has unquestionably undergone significant change in the last 15 years or so, primarily due to the popularity of the internet and online betting. This has made it easier for bookmakers to monitor their customers, but it has also led to bettors becoming more informed and aware of the importance of value. In that time there has also been a notable change in bookmaker behaviour that has led the betting industry to the situation it now finds itself in.

In the past, bookmakers took pride in their bravery in taking on all comers, being willing to take losses from individuals in the hope that they would beat that customer in the long run. However, the modern reality for bookmakers is that the bean-counting accountants have taken over. The type of customer they primarily want to deal with is the small-staking recreational bettor that will bet all day long without any regard for value, strategy or discipline.

How they seek to achieve this is by either closing the accounts or more commonly severely restricting the permitted betting stakes of any of their customers that show competency in their betting.

The danger of this policy should be obvious to all. Horse racing is an incredibly complex sport in which the betting odds are fundamentally fixed in the favour of the bookmakers. Becoming skilled and disciplined enough to have a chance at making a long-term profit by betting on it takes thousands of hours of work and only a very small percentage of people that bet on horse racing make it pay. With the modern reality for successful bettors being that placing meaningful stakes at fair prices is often a bigger challenge than finding winners, one could understand why intelligent, hard-working sports enthusiasts would rather dedicate themselves to getting good at betting on a sport in which they can at least bet in big stakes if they wish to without undue hassle, such as football.”

Contrast with today’s news via the Racing Post.  Bill Barber 1:48PM, MAY 25 2017

“The amount of money lost on betting shop gaming machines increased to a high of £1.8 billion in the year to September 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the Gambling Commission.

The share of betting shop gross gambling yield (GGY) – the amount kept by operators after winnings have been paid out – provided by gaming machines was 56 per cent compared to traditional over-the-counter betting.

Gaming machines, also known as fixed odds betting terminals or FOBTs, are the subject of a government review announced last autumn, the results of which have been delayed by the general election campaign. Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos have called for the stakes on machines to be cut to £2 from the current maximum of £100.

The findings of the government review, which many expect to recommend a cut in stakes, had not been expected to be published until the autumn.

The latest total gross gambling yield (GGY) of the British gambling sector was £13.8bn, up from £13.4bn in the year to March 2016. Remote gambling, mainly made up of the online industry, remains the largest sector in British gambling and constitutes 32 per cent of the overall market with GGY of £4.5bn, up from £4.2bn. Within the remote sector, casino games generated £2.4bn of GGY, while remote betting, including betting exchanges and pool betting, totalled £1.9bn of GGY dominated by football and horseracing.

Racing’s remote GGY increased to £352 million from £342m, while football GGY stood at £619m.

In betting shops, turnover on horseracing, which in March 2009 stood at £5.74bn, fell to £4.6bn in September 2016 from £4.79bn in March 2016. However, GGY increased slightly to £600.5m from £598.6m.

Total betting shop numbers fell again to 8,788, meaning numbers have fallen by one per cent for each of the last three periods covered by the commission’s statistics.

Gambling Commission Statistics Headline Figures

£13.8bn Total GGY of British gambling industry

£4.5bn Total GGY of remote sector

32% Market share of remote sector

106,678 Total number of people employed in the British gambling industry

8,788 Number of betting shops in Britain

1.8bn Total GGY of betting shop gaming machines

56% Share of gaming machine GGY in betting shops compared to over-the-counter”



Station Master sale caps big week for fledgling Fahey

Son of Scorpion provided the trainer with first Rules success James Thomas RP Bloodstock  2:28PM, MAY 25 2017

“By anyone’s standards, the last seven days have been particularly eventful for Peter Fahey, son of leading Flat trainer Richard. Not only did he witness his father’s Ribchester run out a mightily impressive winner of the Lockinge Stakes on Saturday, but less than 24 hours earlier he had saddled the first Rules winner of his own nascent training career – with his very first runner outside of the amateur game.

Station Master, who landed the Aintree point-to-point bumper by no fewer than 11 lengths, also provided jockey Billy Garritty with a first win under Rules. And, in a neat twist of fate, it came at the very same course – and almost ten years to the day – where Garritty’s father Russ had brought down the curtain on his own illustrious riding career, with a third-place finish on Lease Lend.

Nor was this the only time Station Master had provided Fahey with a first, as he provided the 23-year-old with his maiden success as a jockey when landing an Askham Bryan point-to-point back in February. While a first winner would seem assured of an eternal place in the heart of all trainers, there is far less of a guarantee about a place in their stable – especially when they are cut from particularly shrewd cloth. And so it was that Fahey offloaded the six-year-old son of Scorpion during Wednesday’s session of the Goffs UK Spring Sale. The horse was purchased by Aiden Murphy, acting on behalf of Kim Bailey, for £48,000.

“He was bought for me to ride, before my bottle went!” quipped Fahey on how he came to train Station Master. “The Aintree race had always been the plan – point form can be a little hard to weigh up but we knew it would take a fair one to beat him that day. We hadn’t really looked beyond that race, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to sell.”

Thanks to his association with his father’s formidable string, Fahey is no stranger to success. But he says that having his own name in the racecard makes it all the more enjoyable. “It was the best feeling,” he says. “Obviously Ribchester was pretty special too, but it’s nice when it’s in your own name. The plan is to have four or five more pointers next season. I’d like to be competitive in hunter chases before I think about taking out a full license. I’ve had three winners now and hopefully I can have a few more next season, it would be nice to bring a couple back here to sell next year as well.” The boost to the Fahey coffers from Friday’s success and Wednesday’s sale could hardly be more timely. For if the previous week had not provided enough excitement, Donna Mackay will soon be able to call herself a trainer’s wife: the couple’s wedding is scheduled to take place on Saturday.”

Lucky 15 Wednesday May 17th  

Tuesday 6.10pm If you say you love horse racing but the York Dante meeting doesn’t get the juices flowing, as a good friend would say, I can only presume you wear tweed underpants and your season is four days in Gloucestershire in March!

Me, I love both and the Knavesmire is one of my favourite places on planet earth. Change in the going has made punting a little trappier but this season really looking forward to the Dante itself on Thursday.

Going at YORK – Anthea L Morshead‏ @AntheaLMorshead  Clerk of the course @3.30pm Tuesday

Going now Good to Soft, Good in places. Currently dry, mild & breezy. 4mms rain today @yorkracecourse

(GoingStick: 6.9 overall. Home Straight; Far Side; 6.9 Centre; 6.8 Stands Side; 6.9 on Tuesday at 07:30)

Wednesday – band of rain, possibly heavy at times, passing through region.

Thursday and Friday – mixture of sunshine and showers.

Going/Weather/Other last updated @Tue 16 May 8:19am

Wednesdays Lucky 15

At these rather exciting prices you may want to play half stake each way? Get shopping!

York 2.20                    SAUNTER                                    12/1 PP 11/1 general

York 2.50                    MUNTADAB                                 9/1 Coral? 13/2 Ladbrokes+WH? 

York 4.35                    MAZYOUN                                        16/1 WH 14/1 general

York 5.35                    ST MALO                                     11/2 PP+WH

and here’s why

York 2.20                    SAUNTER Possibly the most interesting part of this race will be as the field enters the straight and where they choose to race?  The selection will appreciate the trip and the give in the ground, has had a seasonal pipe opener and this lightly raced gelded 4yo could still be open to improvement. Drawn well in stall 7, races prominently, doesn’t do anything quickly but keeps on galloping. I like this trainer, David Menusier, and he sends a select team of just three north to the Knavesmire for the Dante meeting from his Pulborough base in Sussex, the yard made famous by Guy Harwood. The other two are Contrapposto in the Dante and Havre de Paix in the Hambleton, both on Thursday.

When Saunter ran in a Listed race in France last November Menusier said about the left handed track, “It does favour front-runners, however, especially on soft ground, which it will be and which should suit Saunter. He found the fast ground against him and the mile and a half a bit far at Newmarket last time. Like Saunter, all of the opposition are stepping up into Listed company rather than being already proven at that level and I expect our horse to go well. He’s a progressive type who should be even better next year.” Sounds like York tomorrow will be spot on!

York 2.50                    MUNTADAB Sometimes when I start going through these big meeting handicaps anything up to a week previous the selection is double figures and then when I get to post the blog they are favourite! Ho hum it’s the nature of the beast. It has to be a low draw for me on the 6F course whatever the going. Like my horse to race prominently, a bit of York form doesn’t go amiss and a horse in form. Muntadeb covers all that although I have a nagging doubt that he could set it all up for a finisher and two in particular.

George Bowen has his ground, is down to OR88, Hanagan rides but stall 13 won’t help and has the horse forgotten how to win? Kevin Ryan has an unexposed top weight in Ride Like the Wind who will be familiar to blog regulars. He had a “bruised foot” last Thursday and we did our money in the Victoria Cup. Surprisingly he drops a furlong here, should appreciate softer ground and if anyone can bring one from off the pace out of stall 12 Spencer can, Mr Lupton remains a master class in the Charity Sprint over C&D last season.

York 4.35                    MAZYOUN A seventeen runner 3yo 7F handicap on uncertain ground. Not the best medium for a punt perhaps! So the positives are he drops in class, Dettori rides, the softer ground (he’s by mudloving Mayson), crucially he’s drawn in stall 3 and this 7F should be spot on for this blinkered gelding. Concerns are Hugo palmer hasn’t landed any big fish this season. Winners yes but Home of the Brave in a Listed at Leicester probably the biggest. Mr Palmer now has two yards to operate and one on Newmarket’s biggest strings and perhaps he’s still coming to terms with the logistics? His thoughts on Mayzoun in today’s ATR stable tour “He should win when things go his way. He is a little bit of a nearly horse as he has won a fair bit of prize money but only one race and made heavy weather of that. He might run at York this week over seven furlongs.” At the price I’ll take the chance “things go his way” at York!

Loads of dangers with so many improving 3yo’s. Fahey’s three are surely beaten by the draw as I put on twitter “Investigation at York please. Fahey runs 3 in 18 runner 4.35. Gets stalls 16,17 18. Come on! 4000/1+”. Chessman and Battered are both in the notebook but at 5/2 and 7/1 IMO offer no value.

York 5.35                    ST MALO Owned by the China Horse Club tells me he wasn’t cheap, indeed a £200K yearling, but they don’t seem to buy too many duds. This 4yo son of Street Cry has obviously had a few ‘issues’ as he was unraced on turf as a 2 and 3yo, was gelded last July then had three runs on the AW in October, improving each time and won the third over this trip at Newcastle. This opening mark looks most workable. Love to know his long term target, Ebor, Melbourne Cup, Ludlow novice hurdle?

Catching Pigeons on sportinglife.com sum it up nicely “St Malo can start his second season off on the right note in the York Data Services Internet Cloud Solutions Handicap. Roger Varian won this race 12 months ago with Appeared, and looks to have another unexposed four year old for what is always a fascinating race. St Malo improved with each of his three outings last season, and ended the campaign with an easy six-length win over subsequent winner Mutadaffeq. The runner-up started his campaign with a three and a quarter length win off 73 in a Thirsk handicap last weekend, and that suggests St Malo may be underestimated by the handicapper with a mark of 82.”

The 6/1 on offer could look a steal in a couple of month’s time!?


Richard Fahey May 16 2017 Dante (1)

Innocent Touch is our first runner of the York Dante Festival in the opening Sky Bet First Race Special Handicap. He has nothing hidden from the handicapper and was a little disappointing at Epsom last time and we don’t know why.

He’s in good form heading into this though.

George Bowen is an extremely disappointing horse. We’ve stuck a hood on him in the Infinity Tyres Handicap to try and find the key. We’re very happy with him at home – as we always are – but he just hasn’t raised a gallop in his last five starts. He’s extremely well handicapped on what we see on the gallops – but not on the racecourse at the moment.

The recent rain at York is great news for Growl going into the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes as I was just a fraction worried a sharp six furlongs here could just have him a little on his head. The more it rains the better and he is working very well ahead of his reappearance. He’ll need to be at the top of his game though as this looks a Group One in all but name and is very competitive.

We’ve three in the Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap and they’ve drawn 16, 17 and 18. I’m sure a mathematician could tell me what the statistical chance of that happening was but it will be a huge number. It’s far from ideal.

Senator is a horse we like and he will stay further in time but we want to get a run into him. We’re very happy with him at home but it will be a big performance to win from out there under top weight. It wasn’t a massive shock to see Sir Reginald Brown win at Redcar on debut and he’s come on a ton for the experience. He’ll win more races but again the draw is a worry – although it can sometimes be negated a little by them coming towards the stands’ rail in soft ground. It would be a good sign if he was up to winning a race as competitive as this on only his second start.

Starlight Romance did well to win at Beverley the last day but I’m a little worried about the ground for her, ideally she’d want it good or faster. We like to have winners at York so we’re firing our all bullets at this. If I had to pick one it would be Senator but the draw is the worry and we’ll need luck.

It Don’t Come Easy is a nice horse who makes his debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes. He’s not fully tuned up and the run will do him no harm but he goes very well at home and is a horse with a future.

The Right Choice ran at Beverley on Tuesday. He was put in both races in case it got too soft there – but the rain came at York so he went to the other track.

Island Flame is our final runner in the closing York Data Services Internet Cloud Solutions Handicap. He had a great season last year and as a consequence is another with nothing hidden from the assessor. The soft ground won’t bother him but I’m just a little concerned he could need it on his reappearance.


Saturdays Lucky 15

A non-runner, two nightmares and an upwardly mobile winner! £9 back for our £15. Considering I was struggling to pick my nose on Saturday that is almost a result!

Ascot 2.15                   MORNINGTON                           Non runner

Ascot 3.25                   ARISTOCRATIC                               6th 9/2                             (3/1 general)

Friendless in market. Led to 3F out, fell in a hole 2F out!

Haydock 3.45             BIRCHWOOD                                   6th 11/2           (4/1 general)

Déjà vu, just about! Friendless in market. Led to 1F out, fell in a hole!

Haydock 5.25             LEADERS LEGACY                       1st 2/1F            (3/1 Ladbrokes 11/4 general)

Like this chap. Looks a proper horse for Godolphin and I will stick with him until he is beaten. Up 5lb from OR89 to OR94 for this win. Royal Ascot handicap such as the Britannia or will it be the normal Godolphin overfacing inexperienced horses in Group company?


Here’s a reminder of the Ante Post piece I put up last Tuesday.

If my maths is right that’s 14 stars out and seventeen stars back. Got them all to post bar one. Got some great prices and George William would have topped it off nicely.

Wednesday 3.35 Chester Cup

Who Dares Win                                       4th 5/1                 two star** win   7/1 WH+Coral

Would have won for Marquand but Murphy beat him to the gap 1F out.

Montaly                                               1st 16/1           one star* win     16/1 WH+Betfred

Gutsy ride from Oisin Murphy with a willing partner. Looked outpaced 3F out but got the breaks in the straight and put his head in front in the shadow of the post.

Blakeney Point                                   12th 4/1F            one star* win     7/1 WH+Betfred

Too much too soon for this improver? Should be back next year.

Saturday 3.10 Swinton Hurdle Haydock

London Prize                                      8th 8/1                  two star**win    12/1 PP+WH

Prominent to two out, one paced.

Traditional Dancer                            11th 40/1               one star* each way          33/1 PP+WH 1234 ¼

Midfield, weakened three out.

Saturday 4.00 Victoria Cup Ascot

George William                                  2nd 8/1                 one star*win      16/1 PP 12/1 general

Tad unlucky in what was a messy and at times confusing race.

Ride Like The Wind                           Non Runner   one star* each way 25/1 BetFred+WH 1234 ¼

Taken out with “bruised foot”. Loser. Runs at York less than a week later? Obviously a small bruise!

Taurean Star                                       16th 8/1           two star** each way selection (16/1 PP+BetFred 1234 ¼)

Could see what Spencer was trying to do but don’t think he nor me expected the whole bloody field to come to the stands rail!! Needed a helicopter from 2F out.


The Epsom Derby 2017

When a horse wins a C4 handicap at Windsor, just, and gets a 20/1 quote for The Derby you know the market hasn’t a clue and to me that says “VALUE”. Will the Dante at York on Thursday sort it out? It will certainly shuffle the market. My two each ways over the winter were Sir John Lavery, awful at Lingfield but Coolmore are telling me not to give up, and Mirage Dancer who was fourth in the Dee Stakes at Chester but his price has halved! Crazy.

Which of the trails will prove relevant? The Dee, the Derrinstown (Is Yucatan the chosen one?), the Epsom Trail, the Dante or is it the 2000 Guineas all along and Churchill turns up and hacks up at evens?

Here are a couple of guys I respect on line and their take on the situation.

Monday 15 May 2017 Kevin Blake At The Races Trying to make sense of the Derby

The Derby is less than three weeks away, but with most of the trials that have been run thus far having proven inconclusive at best and the leading form pick being a far from certain runner, the race has yet to really take shape. So, will the Derby winner emerge from this week’s Dante at York, or is he already hiding in plain sight?

The first horse that has to be discussed is CHURCHILL, as both the race and the market for it revolve around the question of his participation. While some may feel that he is now more likely to line up after what have been a series of inconclusive trials, I still strongly suspect that he won’t be asked to run in the race.

The commercial reasons for this were discussed in this space last week and even though it looks far from a vintage Derby right now, there just doesn’t seem to be enough for his connections to gain from venturing into unknown territory with him at this stage. What many considered to be the inconclusive nature of the 2000 Guineas means that there is plenty of upside to him being kept at a mile for the time being and I will be surprised if that doesn’t prove to be the case.

Of those that faced Churchill at Newmarket, BARNEY ROY remains in some bookmaker’s lists for the Derby despite needing to be supplemented for the race. In the unlikely event that he was added to the field, I would have major concerns about both his stamina for the longer trip and his ability to handle the track given that he got lost on the descent into the dip at Newmarket.

A more likely Derby runner from the Guineas field is perhaps EMINENT. While he was perhaps a bit disappointing in the Guineas after getting caught wide throughout, his Craven form received a boost with the runner-up Rivet finishing third in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Deauville on Sunday. He has given the impression that a longer trip will suit and he isn’t a forlorn hope.

The Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown has produced more than its share of Derby winners over the years, but plenty were understandably reluctant to get behind the form of this year’s renewal given that three Ballydoyle horses hit the line with just a head separating them. That said, while the finish being so compressed hardly inspires confidence, it should be remembered that all three of those involved put Group 1 form in the book as juveniles.

Indeed, all three are likely to have achieved more in the Derrinstown than many of the horses involved in the finishes of the other Derby trials involving less exposed runners. With that in mind, it may be ill-advised to write off YUCATAN in particular as a Derby contender, given that shaped the best of the three on the day.

CLIFFS OF MOHER was the big Ballydoyle hope going into Chester and while he duly won the Dee Stakes, it was an undeniably workmanlike performance. It seems likely that he will improve from that first run of the season and while it may be ill-advised to judge him too harshly on his performance around a track such as Chester which is unlikely to have played to his strengths, it wasn’t a performance that screamed Derby.

Indeed, the eye was drawn just as quickly to the performance of MIRAGE DANCER back in fourth who flew home after getting caught in a poor position. While he may be too raw for a race such as the Derby at this stage, he is a high-class prospect going forward.

The apparent lesser of the trials at Chester was the Chester Vase and it produced a 1-2-3 for Ballydoyle led home by VENICE BEACH. A half-brother to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream, it had taken him three starts and a step up to a mile-and-a-half for him to break his maiden at Tipperary last month, but he has been improving with each start and this was another step in the right direction. While the race is not being given as much prominence as the other trials, Venice Beach is an improving, well-balanced colt that should have no problem with the test that the Derby presents and shouldn’t be underestimated.

The Lingfield Derby Trial presented an opportunity for SIR JOHN LAVERY to throw his hat in the Derby ring, but he ultimately proved very disappointing. A month ago Aidan O’Brien had revealed in his At The Races stable tour that Sir John Lavery had a setback that had held up his preparation and perhaps it was a case of Lingfield coming too soon for him, but it was undoubtedly a poor effort from him.

As it transpired, it was the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained BEST SOLUTION that took the spoils in good style on the day. While it is natural to underestimate one that has been beaten six times, including on the dirt at Meydan in February, he has Group 1 form in the book and has more than earned his place in the Derby.

Given there is so much uncertainty surrounding the Derby at present, the hope for many is that the Dante will reveal a stand-out contender for the race and looking at the likely runners, it could well do so. The likeliest candidate for that role is considered to be the John Gosden-trained CRACKSMAN. The son of Frankel didn’t score value highly in the style stakes when overcoming some trouble in running and an unsuitably tactical race tempo to win the Derby Trial at Epsom by a short-head in April, but that effort looks better now than it did at the time with the runner-up Permian bolting up in a Listed race at Newmarket and the third home Bay Of Poets finishing second Cliffs Of Moher in the Dee Stakes. Just as importantly, what Cracksman’s performance at Epsom showed was that he handled the track. He has his own way of moving, with his action being quite wide in front, but for him to handle the unique undulations of Epsom so well on just his second start in what was a tactical race showed that balance is not an issue for him and that can only be considered a positive for his Derby prospects. A more truly-run race in the Dante will suit him and he could well find significant improvement.

One that has emerged as a potential Derby contender in recent days is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained CRYSTAL OCEAN and his credentials will be tested in the Dante. However, while he did look promising in beating a subsequent winner in a maiden at Nottingham in April, he looked green and his action suggests that Epsom on quick ground may not be to his liking, so for me at least, he will need to show substantial improvement at York to put himself in the mix.

The biggest danger to Cracksman is likely to come from the horse that is perhaps being underestimated the most in the Derby build-up, the Joseph O’Brien-trained REKINDLING. Trained by David Wachman to win a maiden at Gowran Park last year, he made a successful start for O’Brien when winning the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April, beating what would go to be the aforementioned first three home in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial. It was a performance that had plenty to like about it, with him travelling nicely and showing a good attitude to pick up into a tight gap in the closing stages. His pedigree suggests that a step up to a mile-and-a-half could well bring about improvement. Indeed, his full-brother Golden Sword made a bold bid from the front in the Derby in 2009 only to weaken close home to finish fifth behind Sea The Stars. Not only is it surprising that there hasn’t been more chat about Rekindling given his clear form claims, the fact that he is trained by a man that will have only just turned 24 at the time of the Derby and has already won the race on two occasions as a rider is a story that should be getting more attention than it is. That is likely to change very quickly if Rekindling can indeed shake up Cracksman and announce his arrival as a leading contender for the Derby.


Sunday 07 May 2017 ATR Ante-post expert Gary Nutting has a speculative selection with analysis for this years Epsom Derby now online.

ATTY PERSSE is almost certainly a lot better than the bare bones of his narrow Esher Cup success might suggest and worth backing at big odds for the Investec Derby ahead of his scheduled next run in the Dee Stakes at Chester this week. Roger Charlton’s colt looked an above-average maiden winner on his only start last year and it was interesting the trainer elected to go back to Sandown and remain over a mile, rather than go for the ten-furlong handicap there on the same day.

Pedigree wise the son of Frankel has reasonable prospects of staying a mile and a half (dam Dorcas Lane, a Pretty Polly winner, was placed in the Ribblesdale and Lancashire Oaks) and on both starts he’s looked more stamina than speed.

In some ways, although the trip nearly got Atty Persse beat, the Esher Cup could hardly have worked out better because he learned barrel-loads in a rough race, which is sure to stand him in good stead as he goes up in grade.

James Doyle could have made better use of his inside draw going into the bend but as he explained afterwards he was minded to keep a hold of the colt’s head as he wanted to teach him to come through horses and didn’t want him over-racing on his first run back. Despite getting into three separate barging matches during the course of the race, and being short of room for most of the straight, Atty Perse showed great determination to go through a gap when one finally appeared and get up on the line.Raised just 4lb for that victory to a mark of 91, he would be some bet if going for another handicap but Charlton knows he is destined for much better things (currently holds three Group-race entries) and has opted for the Listed trial round the Roodeye for the next stage of his education. The extra two furlongs there should see him in a better light and physically he looks the sort to cope well with the tight turns (likewise the gradients at Epsom).


GG.Co.UK Tips Den Ante-Post: Best Of Days could be a Derby gem at 33/1 KEVIN O’MALLEY 9:57am, Mon 8 May 2017

The Derby picture was made a little clearer by virtue of an underwhelming Derrinstown Derby Trial on Sunday, where Douglas Macarthur was a gutsy winner over Capri and Yucatan; all three failing to scream “Epsom”. The 2000 Guineas on Saturday, as it always is, was also quite revealing in regards to the Investec Derby on June 3rd.

Churchill was a fluent winner, benefitting (along with his obvious quality) from a near-on perfect run through the race near the inside rail. He is favourite for the Derby and understandably so, but a pre-season stable tour comment (credit: ATR) from Aidan O’Brien throws into question whether he is really thought of as a Derby horse: ”In terms of trip, I always thought he’d be fine at a mile and maybe up to a mile-and-a-quarter. I wouldn’t be sure about a mile-and-a-half for him, but his temperament will give him every chance if he’s ever asked to try it.” So, there we are. Churchill is the best horse in the race and is likely to run as a result of that. Class alone may well be good enough to see him complete the double, but at the same time a) he still may not run and b) if he does run, he may not stay and although he’d go off considerably shorter than the 5/1 on offer by a few bookmakers now, Churchill doesn’t appeal as the bet to be had.

Barney Roy looks a miler, Eminent is likely to take his chance in the Derby but he too will surely struggle to fully appreciate the 1m4f Derby challenge. Cracksman is a solid candidate for Epsom glory and his trial form is already working out promisingly with Permian securing a fluent Listed win at Newmarket on Saturday. John Gosden’ charge is an 8/1 chance and solid, but doesn’t set the pulses racing for a long range punt.

Essentially, the pool of horses who’re glaringly obviously suited to the Derby in profile and being targeted at it as such is very thin on the ground, so perhaps we’re yet to see the Derby winner this year.

As soon as Best Of Days won his Sandown maiden on July 20th of last year, I immediately tweeted “Best Of Days looks a Derby horse…..discuss”. It got no interaction, but I wasn’t the only one to be taken by this handsome son of Azamour and perhaps most importantly, it was his trainer Hugo Palmer who immediately started talk of Epsom for this horse after that Sandown win and again after his victory in the Royal Lodge Stakes two months later. He is yet to race beyond a mile, but 12f should not just be within his compass, it should bring about significant improvement. The concern is, Palmer has said he is proving difficult to get fit and may well miss the Dante, in which case the only trial left for him is at Goodwood. Nevertheless, the thick end of a year has passed since the Newmarket trainer first mentioned dreams of Epsom for this horse and the latest news tells us that plan remains the same. He is available to back at 33/1 with several firms and if he were to make a winning return at Goodwood, you can be sure that would set the wheels in motion for a collapse in price.

In terms of ground, he won’t want it to be rattling fast, but it rarely becomes too quick at Epsom so Best Of Days should be fine. Any rain would see his chances increase.

Hopefully this 3yo colt can begin to find his fitness at home over the next couple of weeks and strip sharp enough to take in one of the few trials left. It is leaving it all a little late, but he is a lovely prospect and at 33/1, I’m willing to take a chance on him given the water that went under the bridge over the weekend, which in my view cleared the way for an attempt at unearthing a dark horse gem. Best Of Days certainly fits that profile, in part – it remains to be seen just what type of gem he is – but I’m excited to have him on side.

Lucky 15 Thursday May 11th

Wednesday 6.10pm Chester looks wonderful in the sun. ITV going heavy on the draw and its effect. Methinks they may be setting themselves up for a fall? Thrilling stuff on the Roodeye and hopefully more of the same tomorrow!

Ascot Racecourse‏ @Ascot  5.45pm Weds May Racing Weekend:

Going is Good to Firm, watering. Watering today: Straight 4mm, Round 3mm

The forecast is for a warm, drying day today.

Thursdays Lucky 15

Chester 1.50               GABRIALS KING                        16/1 PP 14/1 Ladbrokes 12/1 general

Chester 3.00               AREEN HEART                                 5/1 PP 9/2 BetFred 7/2 general

Chester 3.35               THE ANVIL                              15/2 PP 7/1 Coral+Ladbrokes

Chester 5.05               BANISH                                   3/1 Coral 11/4 general

and here’s why

Chester 1.50               GABRIALS KING He has course form, indeed he stole a Listed race here, he handles Good to Firm ground, Hanagan rides, drawn in stall 5 of 8, the small field should nullify the draw. Enough runners to get some pace but not enough to block his late surge. #FantasticMrFahey told sportinglife.com “He’s drawn five which is good – it’s a smaller field than I expected – and he’s fit and well. Ideally he’s better over further, we tried to get him in the Cup but he was balloted out, so ended up here. He’s in great order.” Amazed he’s a double figure price.

Chester 3.00               AREEN HEART I’m sticking with #FantasticMrFahey to get Thursday off to a flyer. Of the top three in the market Areen Heart has the strongest credentials. Won his 2yo maiden on his second run having been an encouraging second on debut. Opened his 3yo campaign just failing to catch Proud Archie at Beverley after a hold up ride. Sure to come on for the run and Hanagan will know what he’s got this time. Via Egnatia hasn’t settled in four races and the hood didn’t help last time! Neither is he too sharp at the boxes and round here I can see Frankie Dettori having a 7F wrestling match. No doubt Jim Crowley will be told to race Mutawatheb prominently but I think #FantasticMrFahey will know where he stands here as Mutawatheb beat his Society Red a neck having finished behind his Andok and The Wagon Wheel plus Areen Hearts jockey Paul Hanagan has ridden the horse in half of its races! #FantasticMrFahey told sportinglife.com “Areen Heart is one I really like and he was my horse to follow this year. He’s 2lb out of the handicap in the Boodles Diamond Handicap which isn’t something I normally do, but I think this track will suit him. They’ll go a good gallop and he’ll drop his head and race properly. I think he’ll run a big race.” The one I see as a danger is the handicap debutante Sharp Defence trained in Ireland but won well at Salisbury last time and starts off on a mark of OR89.

Chester 3.35               THE ANVIL Who am I to say Ryan Moore has got on the wrong one? Won’t be the first time and sure as eggs are eggs won’t be the last. I’ve liked The Anvil ever since his staying on debut as a 2yo when a strong finishing second to stable mate Utah. He then ran placed in what I saw as some strong 2yo races in the UK involving the likes of Glencadam Glory, Best of Days etc. and by the time he reached the G1 Racing Post Trophy he had had enough for the season and was a dismal tenth of ten behind Rivet. He opened his 3yo programme hacking up in an egg and spoon maiden on the sand at Dundalk and unsurprisingly as he’s owned by Coolmore and trained by A.P.O’Brien he is a son of Galileo. As his mums a daughter of Rainbow Quest this mile and a half trip on quick ground will be right up The Anvil’s street. He has entries in the English and Irish derbies but it’s the Queens Vase entry that takes the eye. Stamina will be his strong suit and he could even be a St.Leger horse.

Chester 5.05               BANISH C3 10F+ handicap which looks short of quality with horses towards the top of the handicap being dual purpose horses coming here off a jumping campaign. Lower down are 8yo’s, win in their turn types so it’s to the very top of the handicap I will go. Banish has been dropped a pound since his seasonal debut to OR90 and that gets him into this 76-90 handicap. Hugo Palmer has been ticking over with winners but nothing in the newsworthy big time, Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle and he’s 6 from 17 when doing so. Stall 5 of 11 is fine and hopefully the trip is far enough and Moore can find racing room on the run to the line.

Wednesdays Lucky 15

Plenty of market support for three of the selections but just the one winner. £7 back for our £15.

Chester 1.50               REQUINTO DAWN                       7th 2/1Fav          (10/3 Ladbrokes 3/1 general)

Out well but couldn’t get the rail. This was eyeballs out 5F 2yo sprinting!! 60.41 seconds. Disappointing, perhaps better in a straight line.

Chester 2.25               ENABLE                                           1st 2/1                  (2/1 general)

First two probably earned a ticket to Epsom. Both should be Group 1 winners, Alluringly maybe in the May Hill over 1m 6f. Frankie Dettori reported afterwards “”She’s a very nice filly, who is improving all the time. She is beginning to know what she is doing. I liked the way that she quickened, she quickened really well and put the race to bed. She showed me a good turn of foot and she’s a very smart filly. She definitely stays, but she’s a stayer with a turn of foot.”

Lord Grimthorpe on Shutter Speed: “I think distance is going to be at least an issue with Shutter Speed. We’re pretty confident Enable will stay a mile and a half, but there is a question mark about Shutter Speed. Certainly on her pedigree there is some doubt, which is why she’s going to York (Musidora Stakes) next week. She will have the option of the Prix de Diane as well. The plan with Enable was to come here today and get her learning and educated on a track like this. For her to develop in the way she has is very pleasing.”

Chester 3.35               WHO DARES WINS                4th 5/1             (7/1 Coral 13/2 Ladbrokes+BetFred)

Every chance. Hanagans move of quick from stall 19, slow it down then kicking at 3F pole caught a few out but meant finish only involved front eight at 3F pole. Who Dares Wins could have won if Marquand had got the seam Murphy took on Montaly.

Chester 4.05               STRADIVARIUS                       2nd Evs Fav      (7/4 general)

Got out, box seat two wide, led 1½F out, always going a yard quicker than they wanted, chinned in last 50yds by Hanagan!